Message to Transkei on the eve of independence, July 1976

On 26 October 1976 Transkei received independence from the Republic of South Africa. Transkei is the first of the nine Black Homelands in South Africa to become independent. The independence of Transkei was preceded by patient and thorough preparation. Transkei can without any doubt serve as a model to the African continent of the way in which independence can tie gained by means of peaceful and evolutionary development. On the eve of independence, Mr. B. J. Vorster delivered the following message.

Since Union in 1910 successive South African Governments have consistently recognised the differences among the peoples of South Africa.

As far back as 1913 legal recognition 1 was given to the right of the various Black peoples to the land they themselves had chosen as their own homes and where they had established their own economies within their own cultural contexts and norms which were acceptable and comprehensible to them - economies differing not only from those of the Whites, Coloureds and Asians, but also differing among the Black groups, so that each economy bore the distinctive mark of the character, culture and traditions of that particular Black people.

These facts demanded to be recognised in the policy of the South African Government, 2 and were indeed recognised. Non-recognition would have meant a disregard of the aspirations and identity of each population group and a negation of all they are proud of.

In fact, South Africa was criticised for believing in the right of every people to have full control over its own affairs. This is no alien principle in the international community, as is evidenced by the emancipation of peoples in Africa and elsewhere.

South Africa also believes in the orderly development of every people to a stage where it feels prepared to accept the responsibility of independence. Strangely enough, this principle too, elicited criticism.

The Transkeian government put a request to the South African Government, a request which was quite reasonable considering Transkei's level of development. 3

In a peaceful manner and by means of political, economic and social evolution, Transkei prepared itself for the responsibility and for taking its place and holding its own as a worthy member of the international community.

At midnight on 25 October 1976 Transkei will become the independent Republic of Transkei. This will be a proud moment for Africa, and for the young Republic it will mean the realisation of a long-cherished ideal.

Now it is up to the international community - and the critics - to act honourably towards the Republic of Transkei by welcoming it to their ranks as all peoples are welcomed upon the attainment of their independence.

I should like to wish Transkei and its leaders God's richest blessings on the road ahead.

According to the Natives Land Act of 1913 some 8,9-million hectares of land were demar­cated and set aside in the four provinces of the then Union of South Africa as fixed and inalienable Bantu land. The Natives Trust and Land Act of 1936 provided for another 6,3-million hectares of land to be added to the Black areas.

The policy of separate development.

Paramount Chief Kaiser Matanzima, Chief Minister of Transkei, recently pointed out that the per capita income of Transkei is higher than that of 27 member states of the UNO. Cf. South African Panorama, July, 1976.